Search this site:


Gordonsville Municipal Airport, KGVE, GVE, Gordonsville, VA, and Bluebird Aerodrome
Click on photos to enlarge
Last revised 3/8/13

Click here to check the current FAA register for aircraft owner or other info.

Click here for hints on using this site; for my "easy" photo use policy; and my disclaimer.

Elaine and I visited Gordonsville when were in VA for our 51st anniversary in Jan. 2011, and then we went back in our motorhome in May. We were there again in Jan. 2012 for our 52nd anniversary, and again in Nov. 2012..

Bluebird Aerodrome takes you back in time not only because of the old-looking hangars, but even more because of the old-fashioned hospitality and love for "real" airplanes. It's something you don't run across very often these days!

I've known Caleb A. Glick since the 1980's when we worked together on Gypsy Moth spray projects around VA and WV. (Those were his "pre-FAA days.") "Glick," as he is affectionately known, has been with the FAA since 1999, and is presently in the General Aviation Maintenance side of things at FAA Headquarters, Washington, DC, after working out of their Fairbanks, AK and Louisville, KY offices.

Glick has been described as a "people magnet." Wherever he sets up shop, people will come. He is gifted mechanically but is very down-to-earth and humble. Combine that with his "easy" way of helping others, and his generous hospitality, and you can see why GVE has become a weekend hangout for area aviators.

Before we get to the airplanes, let me introduce you to KGVE, Blue Bird Aerodrome and Glick. Here's an aerial shot of KGVE, and then two shots of a hangar that was moved here from Langley Field in the mid 1930's. To the right is the old terminal building and two hangars, and Glick is building his future living quarters above. The airport proper is owned by the City of Gordonsville but Glick bought 1+ acres and these structures. (1/12 photo)

There is often food there for folks who fly in to "get a bite" while they sit around and swap lies, as we say, and it's not all men!. Glick built this serious grill out of a government surplus, aircraft engine storage can and did eight strips of baby-back ribs one day when we were there.

Ok, here's some of the aircraft I saw at at GVE, listed in alphabetical order by make, and then by model and serial number. By the way, upon request I will email a free, unmarked image to the owner of any aircraft shown here. See some "other stuff" at the bottom.

Aeronca 7AC Champ N82151, 5/11
1946 sn 7AC-777. Ooooh yes, this bespeaks "Champ" as we knew it in the 1940-50's. The metal prop and Cleveland wheels and brakes are an acquiesence to moderninity. Well, they're off and on their way home!

Aeronca 7AC Champ N83436, 5/11, 1/12
1946 sn 7AC-2103. Actually a 7DC now, with the dorsal fin and C-85 engine. This setting takes some of us back a few years! The Champ has been sold and is no longer based at Gordonsville.
Aeronca 7AC Champ N84997, 11/12
1946, sn 7AC-3721, FAA says 7AC but N84997 is most certainly a 7DC now with a C-85 and electrical system. It came in with the J-5A and 7GC. The sun is getting low so it's time to head toward home.

Aeronca 7AC Champ N85192, 5/11
1946 sn 7AC-3925. This little Air Knocker dropped in for a vist and probably some vittles. It still has a wood prop but is slicked up with those wheel pants. You've got a needle and ball there but you'd probably still want to stay out of the clouds! Headin' home! 3/13, My friend Bob Shenk, in Harrisonburg, VA, now owns this one. The Champ is easier to get into and out of than the J-3 Cub, and he bought it so his wife would enjoy "going flying" more. .


Aeronca 7AC Champ N1003E, 5/11, 1/12
1946 sn 7AC-4553. When is a 7AC no longer a 7AC? The vertical fin is the first clue that we're talking talking about a 7DC here, i.e. a 7AC modified to a C-85 Continental. Note the squared wing tips. And the electrical system is another clue, as you can see from the cockpit. Note the upswinging door. Aaaah - I think he's taking off here but it might be landing. In the old days things were done more casually than today, i.e. some 7ACs that were converted to the 7DC had the model number changed but some didn't. NEW 1/12. Here's how you keep the bird poop off of your Champ! Because of the added weight from the electrical system and additional equipment, and from the Citabria type interior, this 7AC Champ is being officially converted to a 7DC in order to increase the gross weight from #1320 to #1350, per Note 4, P35 at FAA TCDS A-759. 1/13: In July 2012 the Champ got away from the owner while hand propping it, and did a major damage. (He had it tied but the knots pulled out of the rope.) I saw it in 11/12 but didn't have the heart to take photos.


Aeronca 7DC Champ N4009B, 5/11
sn 7BCM-380, ex USAF, National Guard, CAP L-16A Grasshopper, probably military sn 47-1155, with the greenhouse windows. Originally built with a C-85-8 (no electrical) although I think it has an O-235 Lycoming now. If you search the FAA web site for 7BCM's you will find that serial numbers include the 7BCM -XXX series, some of the military series, i.e. 47-XXXX, and some of the 7AC-XXX series because of 7AC's that were converted to 7BCM configuration. This one must have been converted to 7DC status at one time and it retained that model number. A very pretty bird, and here's the panel. Conner the German Shepherd hung around for hours and tried to get people to play his game.

Champion 7GC N848X, 11/12
1959, sn 7GC-58, ex N4881E, ex Canadian CF-UUK. This looks like fun! It's essentially a 7AC beefed up a bit to handle a 140-hp Lycoming O-290-D2B! It has some modern stuff but is still VFR. He came in with the J-5A and 7AC N84997 and waited until last to take off. I'm sure he could easily catch up!

Aeronca 65-LB Chief, N33756, 11/12
An old airplane and a brand new pilot! The owner lives nearby and decided it is time to learn to fly. And why not start in an old taildragger!? This Lycoming O-145-B powered, 1941 Aeronca 65-LB Chief, N33756, LB-13401, fit the bill just right! The vertical fin looks more like a later Chief.

Here's the distinctive engine cowling, and an instrument panel that has more switches than some of the early Chiefs. It has the 8-Gal. aux fuel tank in addition to the 12-gallon tank ahead of the instrument panel. Here's another view of that "sunburst" type paint job. See those ropes there along the side? The owner was making a system to secure the Chief when propping it, with a lighter rope that ran up to the cockpit where he could release it after he had climbed in. The first design didn't release as intended and someone had to come take it off for him. Oh well, back to the drawing board! And finally, an evening shot.
ALLEGRO 2000 N44440, Experimental, 11/12
2005 FANTASY AIR SRO sn 05-210. A Czech designed, Rotax powered Light Sport Aircraft. I can't tell you a lot more but I will say that its takeoff and left-climbing-270 back over the airport were impressive. Modern!

Beech F33A Bonanza N437P, 1/12
1984 sn CE-1045, with a 285-hp Continental IO-520-B series unless converted to the IO-550. They are 4-6 place, and there's no question that he's at KGVE! Many Bonanzas are pretty but this one is a real beauty!

Biplane and Triplane
There are many taildraggers at KGVE but surprisingly I have seen only one biplane and one triplane there.

Cessna 140 N76477, 1/12
1946 sn 10909, C-85 Continental. Used by Skip Degan for tailwheel transition training and other instructing. Here's one way to protect it if you need to let it outside. Skip has produced a DVD called "Tailwheel Basics."


Cessna 150 N5985T, 1/12
1964 Cessna 150D sn 150-60685, Continental O-200. This is Glicks' "Bluebird" and (as of 3/13) you can rent it for $80/hour, wet. It's all part of Caleb's commitment to help others, be they the first-time student; one qualifying for LSA, or pilots who haven't flown for a while and want to get back into it. It is based at KGVE, Bluebird Aerodrome.


Cessna 172 N7912U, 5/11
1964 172F sn 172-51912, Continental O-300, a clean old KGVE based 172.   

Cessna 172 N3720F, 1/12
1966 172H sn 172-55215, Continental O-300, another KGVE based aircraft. Note the engine pre-heater there for cold weather operations. Two Zero Foxtrot got some action over the weekend.

Cessna 172 N13508, 5/11, 1/12
1973 172M sn 172-62805, Lycoming O-320-E2D, 150-hp, on the level and covered up. It was flown later in the day. FAA says its a 1973 but its actually a 1974 according to TCDS 3A12, and probably a 172M Hawk II.


Cessna 172 N73852, 5/11
1976 (actually a 1977) 172N sn 172-67721, with Lycoming O-320-E2D, dropped in for a while. 


Cessna 172 N54452, 5/11
1981 172P sn 172-74977, Lycoming O-320-D2J, 150-hp. There's a lot of grass at KGVE and I spent a number of hours on that mower behind the 172! Glick said, "You don't have to do that!" I said, "If you came to our place, would you just sit around and watch?" End of discussion!


Cessna 177 Cardinal N3267T, 5/11
1967 sn 177-00567, an early Cardinal with Lycoming O-320-E2D (but see next paragraph). He went out for an eight minute flight, probably to blow the dust off. I believe it is locally based.

On 1/30/12 Frank Dixon wrote: I was pleased to see a picture of 67T with her new nose art. I’m actually one of her owners and wanted to let you know a few more details about her for your site. Back in the 1990’s she was upgraded to a 180-hp Lycoming O-360. Every effort has been made to keep her in the original Factory color scheme, named appropriately Tangerine & Matterhorn White for the exterior and Avacado green on the inside. I’ve owned her with a few partners going on 7 years, and think the 177 is one of the easiest flying planes I’ve ever had the pleasure of piloting. For now she is based at Gordonsville, although occasionally she’ll find her way down to Hampton Roads Executive for a nice beach vacation.
Citabria 7GCBC N5252X, 5/11
1969 Champion sn 190, Lycoming O-320. It took some real photoshop skill to show the sun on both sides like this! Or maybe it was morning and evening shots - - "who knows"! (Are you aware of the relationship between "Citabria" and "Airbatic"?)

Corben Baby Ace N4731C, 5/11
1960 Corben Jr., MJA Sport sn 1. This cute little Corben dropped in for some fuel, along with the Cub behind it (N70497, below), and they were soon on their way. Looks like real fun on a warm day!

Decathlon 8KCAB N5502A, 5/11
1978 Bellanca sn 408-78, with Lycoming IO-320, waiting in the hangar and then heading out for some aerobatic work. See Decathlon info here.

Decathlon, 8KCAB Super Decathlon N62FT
1998 American Champion Aircraft sn 808-98, with Lycoming AEIO-360 and constant speed prop. Sitting next to a relative (brother, distant cousin?), Citabria N5252X. This is what you call a sun-burst paint job, and this is a few generations beyond this Aeronca Champ panel. The former is like today's kids with their IPads and etc, the latter is like me and my cell phone. The old and the new! Taxiing out, and climbing out - which it does very well!


Evans Volkesplane LD VP2 N19LC, 1/12, 11/12
1988 sn LD1, a 2-place, Volkeswagon powered homebuilt, all covered up for the winter! Learn more about them here, and here. Many of them are in Canada, as shown here. I saw it again in 11/12, looking good! Here's a closeup of the engine, and the panel. Looks like we're going to take it around the patch!

  IndUS T211 Thorpedo LP N211NY, 11/12
This 2007 IndUS Aviation T211 LSA, an 0704D0293, dropped by for a few minutes. It is an outgrowth of the well known Thorp T-18. It was getting late in the day so before long he taxiied out and took off. I believe it has a 120-hp Jaribu 3300 engine. More info here.

Kolb Twinstar MKIII N62079, 5/11
1994 sn GDE123, with a Rotax engine. Note the pop-out emergency parachute in front of the engine. This is a nicely finished Twinstar, although the paint scheme could make you nauseous if you stare at it. .   


Kolb Twin MK III Extra N46520, 5/11
2005 sn M3X03 4000 47, Lots of visibility here! Homer Kolb, the designer, was a friend of our family and I remember when he was into his first ultralight, with chainsaw type engines. N46520 also has a Rotax, but a different exhaust system and propeller than above.


Luscombe 8A N1516B, 5/11, 1/12
1948 Silvaire sn 6143. June 26, 2010 was not a good day for One Six Bravo! From the accident report it seems that the student pilot accepted responsibility for what happened, contrary to some reports where it seems that a taildragger just mysteriously went off the runway all by itself. It looks like they painted the N-number on the tail when One Six Bravo was in a level attitude! Here's a photo of it in a happier state.

  Mooney M20D N1915Y, 11/12
1964, sn 210, Lycoming O-360. This Mooney stopped by and hung around for a bit before heading home..

Piper J-3 Cub N70497, 5/11
1946 J-3C65 sn 17500. It has a wood prop but the 8:00x4 balloon tires are gone for the sake of more modern brakes. See that venturi down there? I saw a photo of a Piper in a 1940's magazine where the caption made note of a similar venturi and said it was for the pilot's relief tube! Okay - - "whatever"! He's off and on his way.

Piper J-3 Cub N6704H, 11/12
1946 J-3C65 sn 19917. A nice little Cub with something a bit different about the windows. There's certainly some significance to "Kit Kat's Cub, Yellow Wings, Blue Skies, Happy Landings" but I don't know what it is. And anyone who has flown a J-3 knows that this is true! One of my favorite memories from over the years is the late afternoon, low and slow flights over rural Wayne and Holmes Counties in Ohio.

Piper J-3 Cub N3644N, 5/11
1946 J-3C65 sn 22903. Yep, another pretty little Cub. The panel is full-blown J-3, including a "bank indicator" as my 1930's Nicholas-Beazley Airplane Company, Catalog M would call it. Looks like an aux wing tank up there. Now this, folks, is how it oughta' be! Father and son dropped in again in 11/12.

Piper J-5A Cruiser N30508, 11/12
, 1940 J-5A sn 5-204. This beauty arrived in the company of two Champs and was parked with one on the left and one on the right. It has a C-85 and here we can see how the cowl opens. The J-5's have a very distinct nose. Pretty basic panel, huh!? After hanging around for a while to shoot the breeze the J-5 and Champs headed out.

Piper, Legend Cub AL3 N58338
2006 American Legend Aircraft AL3C-100 sn AL-1026, with 100-hp Continental O-200-D, arrives at Gordonsville. This is the way Gordonsville Muni looked decades ago - - the old hangar, rotating beacon and a J-3. But wait a minute, there's a door on the left side - how can that be? Okay, now I see - it's a Legend Cub! Wow, I think I'd be happy with one of those! The landing gear shock absorbers are different ("kiss those bungee cords goodbye") but otherwise it's an authentic look-alike in many respects, even to the eyebrow baffles and wood prop. Learn more about the Legend Cub here.


Piper, Legend Cub AL3 N9FZ
2011 American Legend Aircraft AL3C-100 sn AL-1162, with 100-hp Continental O-200-D. The Legend Cubs are LSA, i.e. Light Sport Aircraft, and can be flown without an airmen's medical (Check the regs). Anyone familiar with the Cub and Super Cub Scott master cylinders will see the difference here. I believe this is the Garmin G3X equipped "Legend Smart Cub" which is a long ways from what I know as a Cub panel! Check out this new fangled Sensenich composite, ground adjustable prop! This is the first one I have seen. Here's a PDF and page 2 shows what it looks like inside. That silver thing in the center is called the "Pitch Cartridge." The pitch can be changed by splitting the hub and inserting a different cartridge. This one is 48 pitch. Legend Cub worked hard to retain the J-3 Cub look!

Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser N2385M, 11/12
1946 Piper PA-12 N2385M, sn 12-1627, fits in well with the Gordonville aura. It would be easy to spot in the snow! I owned a couple of PA-12's over the years and like them. In fact I did my first instructing in a PA-12 in 1963. For the uninformed, the bare aluminum thing on the side there is a venturi to create suction to drive the directional gyro in what is obviously a "full panel."
Piper PA-23 Geronimo Apache N222EW, 5/11
1958 PA-23-160 sn 23-1539, ex N4061P. Built with 160-hp Lycoming O-320’s but now has 180-hp O-360's. The nose and the tail and some features in between shout "Geronimo". The owner washed it and flew it around the patch to dry it off. This is probably a fun, light twin.   

Piper PA-28 Cherokee N15416, 5/11, 1/12
1972 PA-28-180 sn 28-7305072, Lycoming  O-360 (Actually a 1973). Many airports have their "out back", and Gordonsville, VA, GVE is among them! This Cherokee was probably once someone's pride and joy but is now awaiting some time, attention and $$$. 1/12, no change.


Piper PA-28 Cherokee N33061, 1/12
1975 PA-28-180 sn 28-7505116, 180-hp Lycoming O-360. A Cherokee 180 arriving on what I believe was a student pilot cross country flight. They're a very practical member of the Cherokee family, and this is a pretty one!

Piper PA-28 Cherokee N5506F, 5/11
1977 PA-28-181 sn 28-7790128, tapered wing, Lycoming O-360 arriving at GSV..
  Sonex N576TL, 11/12
2005 sn 0622, Experimental, Amature Built by Thomas R. Luce, appears to be undergoing an inspection. That looks like the six-cylinder, 120-hp, Australian made Jariibu 3300 engine, which supposedly makes it true out at 170-mph at 8000'. The hour meter shows 46.9 so it's obviously been flown a bit. Here's what it looks like back through the fuselage.
Sonex N46225
2005 sn 0659, Experimental, Amature Built by Richard Kosi. It's been sittin' and needs a good wash job. The Sonex can be built as a taildragger or tricycle gear. You can learm more about Sonex Aircraft here
  Taylorcraft BC-12D N95189, 11/12
1946 BC-12D sn 9589. It probably still has the Continental A-65, which doesn't have a generator or starter, so it's uses this wind-driven generator to power the gadgets in the cockpit.

Taylorcraft L-2M Grasshopper, DCO-65 N58036, 5/11
1943 sn L-5635, USAAF 43-26323, showing 326323. "Incoming!" Yep, this is a quite-authentic L-2M. Nicely restored, and with lots of glass for seeing around as a Liasion aircraft. Nice vintage door handle there.

  Titan Tornado N4070F, 11/12
2007 Titan Tornado Experimental Aircraft N4070F, sn 0704D0293, pretty as can be! FAA says it has a Jaribu 2200. I don't have any info on the specific model.
Titan Tornado I, 1/12
This little Titan has been under construction for a few years. I think it's a single-place Tornado I and it has a Rotax 503, 2-cylinder engine. Would two size 12's fit in there for the rudder pedals? The instrument panel is almost ready to go! The rudder is fabric covered but the rest of the tail is aluminum. Learn more about Titan Aircraft here. The N-number has not been assigned yet.
Vans RV-7A, N527LR, 1/12
FAA says it's a 2008, model L&RV7RD, sn 70968, with a 180-hp Mattituck TMX 0-360 engine. This one is well done. It looks real nice in there - lots of gadgets! Per Van's web site, the RV-7A is tricycle gear and the RV-7 is a taildragger.

Vans RV-8 N52VV, 5/11
2003 sn 80718, Lycoming O-360-A1A. Wow! Wow!! WOW - what a beauty!! I think he needed to make a pass to check the runway. He visited a while and was soon on his way.


Vans RV-12 N475JB, 1/12
2010 sn 120046, 100-hp Rotax 912ULS engine, and very yellow. The builder/owner had been out flying and we got there just in time for some photos. According to Van's Aircraft the RV-12 cruises at 130-mph. The hinged canopy makes it easy to get in and out but I think I'd have something in there to break out if I ended up on my back. No steam gauges here! The Rotax 912 is a very popular 4-cylinder, 4-cycle, air and water cooled, geared engine, built is Austria. The prop turns about half the speed of the engine. This is a nice looking installation. Learn more about Rotax, here.


Vans RV-12 N83EE
There's some very nice workmanship going into this RV-12, and I saw some definite progress from May 2011 to January 2012. I'm eager to see it finished and flying! Here's the panel area and the seat structures. The tail was pretty well completed and the canopy was in the process of being trimmed. The wings looked like they were ready to go on. These "Experimentals" are the kind of activity that takes place naturally in the atmosphere that is created by people like Caleb Glick.


Zodiak CH601XL N807HA
This is a 2007, factory built Aircraft Manufacturing & Development Co, SLSA aircraft, sn 601-029S, with a Rolls Royce (Continental licensed) O-200 engine. Nice panel, even if its not glass. It should be easy to enter and exit. There have apparently been several structural failures with the CH601 but I'm told that no factory built aircraft have failed. There is now a beef-up mod to strengthen them. More info here.

Other Stuff, 1/12
This old Jacobs R-755-9 is in the corner of a hangar at KGVE. It's the 245-HP "Jake" with exhaust, motor mount and other parts from the right side of a T-50 or UC-78 Twin Cessna "Bamboo Bomber." The data plate is missing but it is military sn 42-15966.
"Airport Car" is sort of an infamous term for those who have used them over the years. This nice Volvo appears to be above the standard. A pilot who dropped in on Sunday donated a new battery for the Volvo! Every little bit like that helps!
Glicks' speed boat is coming along nicely and will hopefully be in the water soon. And yes, that is FAA approved Ceconite type material on the front there.
Art-Deco. I'm not sure what every part of this deal symbolizes, but "Radio Flyer" is certainly fitting for an airport like Bluebird Aerodrome!

Friends of   © 2013 John
All rights reserved.